2002-03 Fencing Outlook
Nov. 5, 2002
Head coach Abdel Salem has great expectations for the Academy's fencing team.
"The Academy is going to have a good season. It's a new season and new excitement is ahead," the coach said.
After closing out the Falcons' team tryouts in September, Salem made his selection of eight men and six women to join the 2002-2003 fencing team. "The team looks good and we have 14 new and promising fencers," he said.
Men's Epee ... adding to the Falcons' epee power is C4Cs Tim French from Austin, Texas, and Jackson Ranes from Las Vegas, Nev. Salem is expecting the duo to be the power behind the men's epee team. Providing leadership and experience are C2Cs Curtis Marshall and Gian Carlo Rando and C1C Seth Kelsey. Kelsey returned to the Academy after competing in the World Championships with one of the best performances among the USA fencers, and is a three-time All-American. Leading the pack will be C1C Anthony Pryor, the team captain. Together they will form one of the strongest men's epee teams in the nation.
Women's Epee ... providing leadership to the women's team is C1C Elia Burrill, a two-time team MVP. She finished 29th in epee at the 2002 North American Cup last spring. Joining Burrill is C4C Caitlin Harris from San Antonio, Texas. Harris was recruited by Salem and was a pentathlete before coming to the Academy.
"These ladies will be our starters. Our walk-ons will complete the strength of our team and I think our women's epee team will do just fine," according to Salem.
Men's Foil ... Newcomer C4C Nicholas Mosca, from Oklahoma City, Okla., will accompany veterans Chris Jones and Sean Recame. C1Cs Jones and Recame are from Seattle, Wash., and Clinton, N.J., respectively. Salem has good feelings about the way this team will progress throughout the season.
Women's Foil ... C2C Apphia Taylor, C4Cs Justine Parks and Ebony Cook and C1C Alexia Forbes are the nucleus of the women's foil team. Taylor is currently an exchange cadet at West Point, but is expected to return to the Academy next semester.
Men's Sabre ... C2C Sean Blas, from El Paso, Texas, returns this year after a two-year church mission to Bulgaria. He will add additional maturity and experience to the team. Joining Blas are C1C Jared Parks, C3C Tin Nguyen, C2C Danny Sisouvong and C4C Sam Bartron. Bartron, from Latham, N.Y., is a six-time Junior Olympic fencer and ranked No. 40 in the nation for under-19.
Women's Sabre ... Andrea Rix, Marissa Romero and Alison Freiman will represent the Air Force Academy in sabre. Rix, a senior from Grand Junction, Colo., was one of two AFA women to qualify for the NCAA Championships, a career first. She finished 23rd at the tournament. C3C Romero is from Allen, Texas. C4C Freiman is from Teaneck, N.J.
"The Academy has always supported Kelsey and Burrill, who will graduate in 2003, as they progressed in their fencing careers by allowing them to compete in all the national and international championships," Salem said. "We have a strong freshmen class this year. The Academy will continue to support its fencers and will give the same support to our newcomers: C4Cs Harris, French, Mosca, and Ranes, whose goals are to place high in the junior and senior rankings."
"We plan on attending all of the North American Cup Senior and Junior competitions as well as the Division II and III competitions," Salem continued.
Once the regular season concludes in February, the Falcons will turn their sights on the Western Regional Championships in San Diego (March 1-2) and the NCAA Championships, March 20-23.
With great expectations, the Falcons look forward to the 2002-2003 season to begin. A new group of fencers will add to the maturity and experience of the veteran Air Force fencers.